I was planning on doing this at a later time, but as yesterday was the 20th Anniversary I kinda of feel obligated to write about one of my favorite version’s of this musical fairy tale. It is not only one of the best versions of the tale, but it opened eyes to how a story can be told. Cannot talk about this without spoiling, then again you probably know the story so what’s the point in saying beware.
Cinderella (Brandy) is living with her cruel stepmother (Bernadette Peters) and her stepsisters Minerva (Natalie Desselle-Reid) and Calliope (Veanne Cox.) She is treated as a servant, but made a promise to her father they would stay together after he passed. One day in the market her imagination wanders, thinking of finding “the one” and almost gets run over by a carriage. She is helped by a handsome stranger and they quickly realize how much they have in common, not satisfied in their lives. They are drawn to each other until stepmother scolds her for talking to each other. As you can probably guess that stranger is the Prince Christopher (Paolo Montalban.) He feels isolated in the palace with his only companion being Lionel his valet (Jason Alexander.)
His parents, more specifically his mother Queen Constantina (Whoopi Goldberg), decide to throw him a ball to find a bride. Christopher wants to find love the old fashioned way, his father King Maximilian (Victor Garber) understands, but the Queen takes charge. The whole village prepares for the ball, including Cinderella’s stepmother for her daughters, not Cinderella who wishes to go. Prince Christopher eventually agrees to the ball, but makes his parents promise if he doesn’t find his love at the ball it will be on his own terms. The night of the ball Cinderella tearfully wishes to go to the ball, and her wish is granted by her sassy fairy godmother (Whitney Houston.) Shortly after arriving Cinderella and Prince Christopher fall in love, but at the stroke of midnight she takes off leaving her glass slipper. Cinderella’s stepmother realizes who that mysterious girl was at the ball and diminishes Cinderella and her father. The next day Christopher and Lionel search for her, and almost give up hope after the stepmother’s house, Cinderella wasn’t there having planned to run away. However once he leaves Christopher and Cinderella find each other and remember their first meeting. They shortly marry with Fairy Godmother watching from far away.
I’m sure you are thinking this, “what makes this version so much better than the others?” Well for starts that all star and diverse cast. Only in this film and in so many other Rodgers and Hammerstein productions (Broadway or film productions) will you see people of different ethic backgrounds in a musical, it is probably only in this film will you see an African American woman and a Caucasian man have a Filipino American son. But that is what many love about this film is how diverse the cast is, even critics who disliked the film at the time liked the diversity. The soundtrack is also absolutely incredible with songs from the original musical, but two additional songs. This version was a HUGE hit for ABC with 60 million watching this on it’s first night! It you were not one of those viewers please find this, I’m sure it is one YouTube somewhere this is an AWESOME version of the classic fairy tale.